A/V Room









Whale Rider - Preview

Preview by: Jack Foley

AFTER making New Zealand box office history and wowing festival audiences across the world, Whale Rider, a film by Niki Caro, has been scheduled for a UK release on July 11.

Based on the novel by Witi Ihimaera, Whale Rider is a magical and deeply moving story of one young girl's struggle to fulfil her destiny.

In a small New Zealand coastal village, Maori claim descent from Paikea, The Whale Rider.

In every generation, a male heir has succeeded to the chiefly title. The time is now.

When twins are born, and the boy dies, Koro, the chief, is unable to accept his grand-daughter, Pai, as a future leader.

A few years later, Koro is convinced that the tribe's misfortunes began at the time of Pai's birth and calls for his people to bring their sons to him, in the hope that the new leader is among them.

Pai loves Koro more than anyone in the world, but she must stand up to him and a thousand years of tradition to reveal the true way forward.

Whale Rider has been produced by BAFTA winner, Tim Sanders (Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Frighteners), John Barnett (What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?) and Frank Hubner (The Musketeer and Feardotcom).

It has played to favourable reviews and won awards in most of the places it has debuted, taking the People's Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival, the Audience Award at the Rotterdam Film Festival, the Audience Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival and the World Cinema Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival.

Maori writer, Witi Ihimaera, was living in New York City, in 1986, when a whale became trapped in the Hudson River, prompting him to recall his childhood memories of the whale legends in New Zealand.

He subsequently wrote Whale Riderin 1988 and now co-produces the movie, which stars Keisha Castle-Hughes, as Pai, and Rawiri Paratene, as Koro.

The film website, had this to say about the movie: "Director Niki Caro's Whale Rider is one of the great movie gems of 2003. Being a refreshing and successful New Zealand funded movie, it displays a unique side of the native New Zealand Maori culture that the tourists rarely see. Fascinating scenery, sensational acting and a solid, enjoyable script provides the ideal ingredients for a true Kiwi classic."

As we said earlier, the movie debuts in the UK in July and IndieLondon looks forward to delivering its verdict then.




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